Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Phantom 3 crashed into the ocean

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by DjiAdam, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. DjiAdam

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2015
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    After just about two weeks spent with my phantom 3 the unthinkable happened. I had flown it on a daily basis since the day of delivery (except from one or two days with rainy weather) and at all those occasions I had done it on a location in my neighborhood. On several of these performed flights I had tried to maximize the distance it could reach but I rarely reached past the 2 km mark, which of course anyway is a good and acceptable distance.

    However, this past weekend I would spend on a location which I in advance found very suitable for flying. Near the shore, with a bunch of opportunities to catch some real good footage with boats and overall the nice environment. After some good flights and when I started to feel confident about the surroundings I got a feel to perform a flight at nighttime. It was completely dark outside and it was really cool to see the green and red lights blinking in the sky. As there wasn’t much to catch on camera at this time of the day I decided to bring it as far as possible out over the ocean. I waited for the signal to be broken but it never happened, it just kept flying further and further away and now after watching the logs I can see that it got as far out as 7, 7 km away from the transmitter.

    When finally deciding to return (without a loss of signal) at 60 % battery level, the problems started. As the speed on the way back showed to be a couple of m/s lower than on the way from the start off point I started to get a bad feeling about the returning at an early stage. At two occasions on the way back I lost signal for a couple of seconds, which of course led to additional stress, other than that the pilot app also crashed at one occasion and the ipad did a whole reboot which never had happened before until that time. Anyway, on the last remaining, perhaps 20 % of the battery I knew that it wouldn’t reach all the way home. Instead I tried to control it to the nearest edge of the shore I had visual onscreen but even that attempt was futile. As I never before really had drained the battery I didn’t know that it lost percentage at a much higher rate in the end of every cycle. Unaware of that at that point I got really frustrated when the like 10 last percent lasted for just 1, 5 minutes. At the exact moment it reached 1 % my screen got black and I had a hard time to believe what really had happened.

    After watching the logs the day after, I saw that it was just a 100 meters from reaching the shore and this increased the frustration inside me even more. Me and a few friends went out with a boat to the approximate spot which where it’s last known gps position and supposedly the location where it should have crashed into the water. As it still was about 100 meters from land it was impossible to even visually see the bottom and at that moment I didn’t see a point in keeping up the search, it was just to start realizing that the phantom was gone forever.

    Now, a few days after this event I can’t blame no one other than me for the outcome of that flight. There wasn’t any type of wrong with my unit or anything like that, it was just a complete idiot move by the pilot, me in this case .I ignored the return to home warning and I flew it way too far. At this moment I’m just pissed and disappointed at myself because under the 2 weeks I had it, it gave me a lot of joy and happiness and some amazing moments caught on tape. I can genuinely say that the phantom 3 is an amazing drone.

    I didn’t write this to get sympathy of any kind, I just wanted to share my story with the intuition that it could be of any use to all of you phantompilots out there, who might not now make the same mistake as I did.

    Also, I would like to ask the persons who might have had a similar experience with a crashed phantom, did you buy a new unit afterwards?I mean, it´s an amazing machine but for me, at this moment it´s more of a financial matter. All the accessories I had plans to buy, or even had ordered, such as an extra battery, case and hdmi board will in a scenario where I buy a new unit be impossible to fund for me at this time.

    Would it still be worth, without out all the accessories which many people see as a matter of course? Give me your opinions!

    /An 18 year old boy who recently lost his dearest toy
     
  2. BuckRogers

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2015
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    101
    You probably know this now. Don't test such a feat over water. Save up for the next big thing I guess. I would not buy another. Not with the customer service and cracking issues.
     
    AbsPapa likes this.
  3. jryser

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2014
    Messages:
    328
    Likes Received:
    118
    Location:
    Indiana
    If u can afford it get another. Accidents happen in this hobby. I flew my P2 vision for nearly two years with no crash and crashed my P3P within a week having run into a luminary balloon over a lake. Had a new one the next day and this one is repairable. If you love the hobby be prepared to crash and or lose things on occasion. All aircraft have a "number!"


    Sent from my PT beating heart
     
  4. SanCap

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    South West Florida
    Sorry for your lose but you may be a contender for the distance award :)
     
    Australis5, redredrn007 and Nannerz like this.
  5. Stephan

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    82
    fly close downwind,,, fly far upwind. sorry for ur loss. i lost mine a week ago. sill bitchin about dji, i have another p3p
     
  6. ScottyT

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    134
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Oh man sorry to hear bro.

    7.7 km is a very long way, if you got it out that far with 60% of battery left there was likely some tail wind on the way out, which then made it more difficult to get it back. I had a similar issue but my P3 had to autoland about 2km away from home. Luckily I managed to land it in a clear paddock away from people or animals.

    People are attempting these distance 'records' and not considering what they'll do if they need to safely land somewhere in between as a plan B.
    If a couple of these attempts get the media's attention because they were crash landed in among unsuspecting people, the authorities will have a field day.

    At least in your case you didn't put anyone at risk (hat off to you) although contaminating the ocean is to be frowned upon.

    It's a tough lesson to learn but it's only money mate, nobody got hurt - you'll be making plenty in the years to come.
     
    antdon, redredrn007 and Ken Cruise like this.
  7. shipdriver

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington, USA
    I did a flight over a tidal estuary a couple of days ago and I flew into a stiff wind on the outbound leg and you could see the battery minutes remaining number dropping quickly. I also couldn't get more than 20mph. As soon as I turned it around, the minutes remaining went up by about 4 minutes, so it was pretty obvious that tailwinds and headwinds have a pretty dramatic effect on battery life.
     
  8. phantom13flyer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,351
    Likes Received:
    404
    I am sorry for your loss and I can only imagine the pain. I am sure just about everyone here has had that moment when they thought their phantom wasn't coming back. I haven't had a crash or "no return" but if I ever do I will most certainly have a new one on the way. For me I think I would help ease the pain of losing one even if that meant I would have to slowly buy accessories . I think the joy comes from where you fly and what you make of it. I don't think it necessary to have all the accessories to make it worth owning a p3. Get back on the horse and forget about it. In time you'll have everything you want for it. Good luck!!
     
    redredrn007 likes this.
  9. 30secs

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2015
    Messages:
    889
    Likes Received:
    113
    I'm sorry to hear that man. Get another. And learn from the mistakes. That's what I did after my p2 flew away.

    I do have some questions though as I'm not getting the full picture from your story.

    You said you never broke signal going out but you didn't look at the distance? Seems odd.

    When you decided to return.. You didn't indicate that you received Rth warning ( until your recap later. How far were you when you got it? How much time did it predict for the return? Why did you ignore it. Again you said you didn't realize how far you were at that point?

    On the way back you state the return speed comparing you when you were going out.. Again you were checking the speed out but not the time out distance? Especially over water, in the dark, never before so far?

    When you decided to return and getting a bad feeling, why didn't you just point it in a straight line to shore, switch to atti and full pitch forward?

    Were you still pushing forward when the app crashed? Were you in Rth mode? GPS? Atti?

    You mention you got frustrated at the last 10%... At that point the phantom is on its last leg trying to land... Not sure what you were trying to do.. Again confused.

    Lastly, can you post the flight picture and data? This can help us help you and others to learn from this experience.
     
  10. flax

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2015
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    21
    OP, thank you for your guts to share your story. I felt it in my stomach, the sense of despair you must have felt.

    (I'll probably have nightmares about losing my Phantom over the ocean tonight :( )
     
  11. Andy Collins

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2015
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    53
    buy a replacement, then sell its remote on ebay for $400 and it makes the loss a little easier to take
     
    RiZe-TommyGun likes this.
  12. Ken Cruise

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2015
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    54
    Location:
    Winston-Salem N.C.
    Brother I know that angry sick sad hurt feeling you are experiencing all too well. This is not a cheap hobby to get into. Considering most people get into it thinking they could make a few bucks taking pics etc, and expect the thing to work as advertised for at least a few months, they rarely go into it with a budget for multiple drones. I've bought 4 of these **** Phantom 3 Pro's and none of them operate the same. None of them make the same sounds, calibrate the same, fly the same, flight times vary, it's like they have their own personalities. And forget about DJI Customer "Service". Knowing what I know now I would have bought some used POS P2 to offer up as a sacrifice to the Tree Gods, or Poseidon in your case, because as every person in this forum has proven, **** is gonna happen. But like Scotty said good on you for not putting anyone in harms way. If my 1st P3P derp had been 2 feet to the left I'd still be sitting in jail so be gald for that much. There is a price drop on the horizon for the Phantoms, just bide your time and maybe find some investors to offset your cost if you are looking to use them for commercial purposes. I have seen people get funding for drones on Kickstarter.
     
    Australis5, dalebb and ScottyT like this.
  13. phantom3menace

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2015
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    92
    What I don't understand is why do some people feel the constant need to push the distance limit(s) on these drones? It seems like it's a high tech, but expensive way to play Russian roulette. Sooner or later that bullet is gonna get you.

    I'm not meaning to rub salt in the OP's open wound, but come on. Just because these drones can go pretty impressive distances doesn't mean we should be testing those limits.....
     
    Ari, JohnK, PaulS and 1 other person like this.
  14. Trumple

    Joined:
    May 19, 2015
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    UK
    Wow
    The RTH warning doesn't even account for headwinds and you still ignored it?

    I don't have any sympathy for you but at least you had the humility to post about it on here. Lesson learned, you'll live to see another day. Get back on the horse etc.
     
    Ari, sergekouper and bobomet like this.
  15. DjiAdam

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2015
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you all for the much understanding responses. I promise I will consider an eventual purchase of a new unit very carefully.

    Regarding the 7, 7 km distance I think we at this point once for all can skip the worries about a shorter range on the CE version compared to the FCC version. I mean, I´m living in Sweden :p
    Unfortunately in this case, it went to be my fall
     
    #15 DjiAdam, Jul 16, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  16. nhoover

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2013
    Messages:
    851
    Likes Received:
    182
    Location:
    Los Gatos, California
    That really is fantastic range. You just have to be smart about the wind. As was said before, fly out into the wind, and back with the wind. Doing that you can go to 50% and then come back and actually make with some to spare. And you don't have to guess about the wind or use someone else's weather report. At your chosen altitude, pop it into ATTI mode where you can see it, and leave it there for 5-10 seconds. You'll see the speed and direction of the wind and can plan your distance flight accordingly.

    Also, you can use ATTI mode in general for long flights to go faster which I believe is more efficient over all even though it might use a little more battery power per minute.

    The RTH warning is dumb and has no way to know if the wind is helping or hurting you. Don't count on it!
     
    reboot81 likes this.
  17. Andy Collins

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2015
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    53
    I hope what I am about to say isn't considered too basic, I am a pilot and know most people realize this but a quick refresher for anyone new.

    I hear people talk about 'fighting a headwind" (and I may use that sort of language sometimes myself), but I want you offer you a different way to look at wind.

    Think of the air your flying in as a river, if you have a 20 mile per hour wind, then for your quad to stay in one spot, the quad must 'fly' 20 miles an hour in the direction of the wind to stay in the same spot.

    If your flying downwind at a groundspeed of 30 MPH, but with a 20 MPH tailwind, your really flying at 10 MPH (your airspeed),,so turn around with the same motor power, and you wil be going backwards 10 MPH,,now to go the same 30 MPH into the wind, your quad must be moving through the air at 50 MPH (airspeed)

    Since we use GPS to keep our Phantoms in the same spot, we dont' realize how much throttle is actually being used to keep them in one place,,probable a LOT more than you thought.

    Again, I hope I didn't offend anyone that thought this was too elementary,,but I hear people talking about wind sometimes and want to offer this way to look at the wind.
     
    Vasekp, Clipper707, DjiAdam and 5 others like this.
  18. Ken Cruise

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2015
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    54
    Location:
    Winston-Salem N.C.
    Ya'll got me nervous. I just flew 4 full batteries and didn't go further than 300 feet away from me. That has to be a record.
     
    eBird, g00se and RiZe-TommyGun like this.
  19. Jbundy63

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2015
    Messages:
    623
    Likes Received:
    164
    Oh man that really sucks! I know it doesn't help but it's good that this kind of stuff be posted so everyone can understand how easy it is the have things happen while flying. Sorry for your loss and hope you will somehow be able to replace it soon!
     
  20. wotblake

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    44
    Buy another. It's only money. You can always make more. It's the reality of the situation - there are lots of other "accidents" in life that are much more difficult to correct. Great job describing the incident.

    Btw, I've been interested in acquiring a second remote. Start a conversation with me if you're looking to sell yours.
     
    Clipper707 likes this.